TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Water Corporation (TWC), a state-owned enterprise that provides water supply services across most parts of Taiwan, is mulling a plan to increases water fees next year.
Except for Taipei City and a number of districts and neighborhoods in New Taipei City, which are subject to the Taipei Water Department, the TWC is responsible for water supply across the rest of the country.
TWC has not altered water fees for 23 years.
The company has commissioned an outside company to evaluate the possibility of modifying charges for water supply, reports Central News Agency. The evaluation report will go through an internal review next January before being submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, its supervising agency, for approval.
Minister of Economic Affairs, Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), said on Thursday that he has not yet been notified of TWC’s plan, but he suggests the company should consider people’s income and the current affordability of water, its influence on the prices of commodities, and the importance of promoting water conservation before committing to any definite plans.
An increase in fees for water supply may motivate citizens to limit water usage and thus conserve water, but it will also affect the prices of commodities and consequently people’s livelihood, added Shen.
Calculation of water fees depends on volume of water consumption, which is divided into four levels. The charge of water would increase commensurately in accordance with the level of water consumption.
TWC said it is planning to adjust the established levels of water consumption from four to five, which would be similar to the approach utilized by the Taipei Water Department. When a user’s water consumption reaches a higher level, they will face higher water fees per unit.
Businesses and industries will also face higher fees for water if the changes go into effect, but any alterations are still under consideration at this phase, according to the company.
TWC Chairman Kuo Chun-ming (郭俊銘) said water charges imposed on industries in Taiwan have ranked the lowest in the world, causing many countries to question how Taiwan motivates businesses to carry out water conservation. The company also needs to take profitability and the cost of facility upgrade into consideration, added Kuo.